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According to A.R.S. § 13-3601, the State may allege that a crime involves “domestic violence” if both of the following are true:


  • The crime is a dangerous crime against children under A.R.S. § 13-705; homicide; misdemeanor or felony assault; kidnapping; sexual assault/rape; criminal damage to property; interfering with judicial proceedings; disorderly conduct; cruelty to animals; preventing use of telephone in an emergency; using telephone to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend; harassment; stalking; surreptitious photographing, videotaping, filming or digitally recording or viewing; aggravated domestic violence; or child or vulnerable adult abuse.


  •  The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of the following:  marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household; parents who have a biological child together; one of them is pregnant by the other; related to each other by blood or court order as a parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother or sister or by marriage as a parent-in-law, grandparent-in-law, stepparent, step-grandparent, stepchild, step-grandchild, brother-in-law or sister-in-law whether living in the same household or not; or a current or previous romantic or sexual relationship.

“Domestic violence charges are easier to beat with me in your corner.”

  Lisa Witt

  • A.R.S. § 13-3601(B) states that a peace officer may arrest a person if he or she has probable cause to believe that the person has committed a crime involving domestic violence.  A person will be arrested if the crime involves the infliction of physical injury or the discharge, use or threatening exhibition of a deadly weapon. 


  • A.R.S. § 13-3601(C) gives a peace officer the authority to temporarily seize a firearm on the premises if the firearm is in plain view or was found pursuant to a consent to search and if the officer reasonably believes that the firearm would expose the victim or another person in the household to a risk of serious bodily injury or death. 


  • A.R.S. § 13-3601(F) provides that the State will file a notice to keep the firearm for six months if there is reasonable cause to believe that returning the firearm may endanger the victim or someone else.  A person may request a hearing to get the firearm returned.  Unless the court determines at the hearing that the return of the firearm may endanger the victim or someone else, the court will order the return of the firearm to the person.

  • A.R.S. § 13-3601.01 provides that the judge must order a person to complete a state-approved domestic violence offender treatment program at the person’s own expense upon conviction of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense.  If the person has a prior domestic violence conviction within sixty months, the judge may order that the person be placed on supervised probation and be incarcerated.​​

“I’m a pit bull—I just look meek and mild.”  Lisa Witt

  • A.R.S. § 13-3601.02 states that a person is guilty of aggravated domestic violence if the person within a period of 84 months commits a third or subsequent violation of a domestic violence offense or is convicted of a violation of a domestic violence offense and has previously been convicted of any combination of convictions of a domestic violence offense or acts in another state, a court of the United States or a tribal court that if committed in this state would be a violation of a domestic violence offense.  Aggravated domestic violence is a Class 5 felony punishable by .5 years to 2.5 years in prison for a first time felony offense.


The consequences of an allegation of domestic violence or aggravated domestic violence are very severe.  Lisa will methodically evaluate your case and determine if one or more of the following potential defense strategies apply:


  • Allegation of domestic violence or aggravated domestic violence is incorrect:  The act described in the indictment may not fit the statutory definition of domestic violence or aggravated domestic violence.


  • Self defense:  Your conduct is not domestic violence if you were defending yourself. 


  • Eyewitnesses:  You may have eyewitnesses who can testify about the alleged offense.


  • Good character:  You may have witnesses who can testify that you have a good character.


  • Alibi:  You may have been elsewhere during the times alleged in the indictment.


  • Mistaken identity:  Someone else committed the act and you were mistakenly identified as the culprit.


  • Bad character of victim:  The victim may have  mental problems, substance abuse problems,  or other problems which leads him or her to make false accusations against you.


  • Bad acts of victim:  The victim may have a pattern of falsely accusing people of domestic violence or have a reputation for lying.


  • Unbelievability of victim’s story:  The victim’s story may be unbelievable based on the calendar or other evidence.


  • Sentencing enhancements:  Sentencing enhancements such as dangerous type offense, repetitiveness of the offense and/or crime committed while on probation or release do not necessarily apply just because the State believes they should.   


  • Missing or tainted evidence:  Sometimes the State’s evidence is missing or tainted. 


  • Exclusion of State’s evidence:  The State may have violated your constitutional rights or acted illegally in acquiring evidence or your confession so the evidence should be excluded.


  • Insufficiency of State’s evidence:  The State may have insufficient evidence to prove domestic violence or aggravated domestic violence beyond a reasonable doubt.


  • Reduction in number of counts: Each count of your indictment should concern a separate criminal act or victim and not be parts of the same domestic violence or aggravated domestic violence 


  • Police misconduct:  There may be police misconduct in investigating the domestic violence or aggravated domestic violence, collecting the evidence, interviewing the victim and witnesses, or obtaining your confession.


  • Prosecutorial misconduct:  There may be prosecutorial misconduct in disclosing the evidence, interviewing victims and witnesses, and in the general course of your case.


  • Possible other defenses:  Depending on the unique facts of your case, there may be other possible defenses.  Lisa thinks outside the box when defending your case so she may come up with a novel defense that no other attorney has thought of before.


If you or a loved one is facing domestic violence or aggravated domestic violence charges, it’s very important to hire a detail-oriented, passionate defense attorney who will fight for you as soon as possible.  Call LisaLaw, LLC or fill out the on-line form for a free case review.

Lisa Witt is a Mesa/Phoenix, Arizona domestic violence defense attorney serving clients facing charges in the East Valley, West Valley, Maricopa County, Scottsdale, Tempe, Chandler, Fountain Hills, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Creek, Gilbert, Casa Grande, Surprise, Goodyear, Buckeye, Youngtown, Ahwatukee, Avondale, Tolleson.

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